Hypothyroidism (or an underactive thyroid) occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce a sufficient amount of thyroid hormone (also referred to as thyroxine or T4). The problem is most prevalent in women over the age of 60 and comes with a variety of irritating or painful symptoms, from obesity to join pain, infertility, and even heart disease. In this way, hypothyroidism can affect people in vastly different ways, with a common theme being its ability to disrupt a person’s life in a very visible manner. This is because the hormones produced by the thyroid is responsible for doing so much, like determining how your body processes the nutrients consumed through food.
The first step towards managing hypothyroidism, as with any condition, is to understand its causes, of which there are many. That said, some factors will be more prevalent than others in causing hypothyroidism. Let’s take a look at these issues here.
1. Autoimmune Disease
Chances are you’ve never heard of an inflammatory disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, even though this is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. It’s an autoimmune disease, which means it involves the immune system creating antibodies that actually attack the tissues they’re supposed to protect in your body. In cases where Hashimoto’s impacts the thyroid gland, the problem often results in hypothyroidism.
Research continues on the causes of Hashimoto’s and why this condition results in the targeting of the body’s tissue. Some experts hypothesize that the problem is a virus or possibly a bacterium that causes a response, while others point to the possibility of genetic issues. In any case, individuals diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis should talk to their doctor about carefully monitoring them for hypothyroidism.